ISC/CD Member Dr. Chee Soon Juan of Singapore Awarded 2011 Liberal International Prize for Freedom
November 1, 2011 | Printer Friendly
By: Mark Hsen
In late October, International Steering Committee member Dr. Chee Soon Juan was awarded the 2011 Liberal International Prize for Freedom. As stated by Liberal International (LI), the award is given "to an individual who has made an outstanding contribution to the promotion of freedom and human rights." Dr. Chee is the Secretary-General of the Singapore Democratic Party.
In awarding Dr. Chee, LI stated, "Dr. Chee tirelessly advocates for democracy in Singapore, engaging civil society and campaigning for democracy and the right to speak freely. As a result of his work, the government has been forced to allow limited free speech through a 'speaker's corner'."
Due to his democracy activism, Dr. Chee has been imprisoned approximately 8 times, most recently in January 2010. In response to the conviction, ISC/CD issued a call on the Convening Group of the Community of Democracies (CD) and other intergovernmental organizations to denounce the actions of the Singapore government. His dedication to fighting for human rights has nearly bankrupted him after repeated government lawsuits, has barred him from running for office, and has prevented him from leaving Singapore.
Because of travel restrictions placed on Dr. Chee, he was unable to receive the award at the 187th Executive Committee Meeting of LI in London. However, LI President Hans Van Baalen will lead a delegation to present the prize to Dr. Chee on November 3, 2011.
Previously laureates have included Aung San Suu Kyi (Burma), Vaclav Havel (Czech Republic), Benazir Bhutto (Pakistan), and Mary Robinson (Ireland, and UN High Commissioner for Human Rights). LI was established in 1947 as the world federation of liberal and progressive democratic political parties to promote values that include: liberalism, human rights, rule of law, social justice, and market economy.
Dr. Chee previously won the Parliamentarians for Global Action (PGA)'s 2003 Defender of Democracy Award. PGA is an international network of legislators in 131 elected parliaments around the world to promote peace, democracy, and the rule of law. Past recipients of the Defender of Democracy Award include Helen Clark (New Zealand) and Kim Dae-jung (South Korean).
For previous news on Dr. Chee, please see:
ISC/CD Statement: Singapore Government Continues to Silence Political Opposition
Liberal International – 2011 LI Prize for Freedom to be Presented to Dr. Chee Soon Juan
Singapore Democrats – Chee Soon Juan awarded LI Prize for Freedom
Democracy Digest – 'Tireless advocate' for Singapore democracy recognized
International Steering Committee Press Release – Singapore Government Continues to Silence Political Opposition